Creative Ways To Surprise Your Family With A Piano Under The Tree

Creative Ways To Surprise Your Family With A Piano Under The Tree

Want to surprise your family with a piano for the holidays? Here are some creative ways to surprise your family with a piano under the tree. 

Every year, you load gifts under the tree in hopes of creating the perfect surprise. Some gifts are forgotten almost as quickly as they are received. Many are returned. More are used for a bit before given away. 

If you’re looking for the perfect gift you’ll keep on using for years to come, why not wrap up a piano this holiday season? 

Yet we realize how difficult it can be to bring home a piano and tuck it under the tree. Still, what could be more fun than giving the gift that keeps on giving? We have some creative ways to give a piano under the tree and surprise your loved one on Christmas morning. 

Wrap The Box

Pianos come in a very large box. However, you don’t usually see it because you purchase a piano directly off our showroom floor. When we deliver it, it’s set up and ready to go. But we do keep a few cardboard boxes in the back – just ask, and we’re happy to tuck one into your truck for you to take home and wrap. It’ll be the perfect way to keep your recipient guessing all season long. 

Wrap The Piano Lid Key

Almost every acoustic piano comes with a key that locks the lid over the piano keys. Wrap up this key in a tiny box and decorate it with pretty paper. You can include a photo or a letter describing what it’s for. If your piano is already in place in another part of your home, create a scavenger hunt for the recipient to find it. 

Wrap A Piano Ornament

If you do a little searching, you can find a Christmas ornament shaped like a piano. Wrap it up with a special note about how they’ll be able to create their own music with their own piano – delivered right after the holidays!

Sheet Music

Instead of wrapping the piano, buy a selection of sheet music and place that in the box. Make sure it’s an appropriate skill level for whoever will be playing the piano. 

Piano Lessons

Will the recipient need piano lessons too? Provide a gift card and wrap that up. This gives them a chance to get started playing right after the holidays. 

Wrap The Bench

Instead of wrapping the entire piano, wrap the bench instead. You can keep it in the box, or wrap it out of the box to keep them guessing. You can include a photo of the piano too if it’ll be delivered after the holidays. 

How To Buy The Right Piano This Holiday Season

How To Buy The Right Piano This Holiday Season

Many parents start with the best intentions. Their kids express an interest in music, so they buy an inexpensive keyboard for the holidays in hopes of pushing them towards their dreams. 

It’s frustrating to find a few months later that the keyboard is in the back of the closet, never touched after a few weeks of playing. What went wrong?

Those inexpensive keyboards aren’t designed to be much more than a toy. They don’t sound right. Often, they aren’t in tune. And you can’t become musically inclined by playing with a toy. 

The only way to be serious about music is to buy the right piano that works for your skill level. 

When you’re ready to buy the right piano for your needs, the first step is to decide between an acoustic or digital piano. Both have pros and cons; it’s important to consider these five things before making your final selection:

The sound

In general, a good piano has great tonal quality. When you touch the keys and play music, listen to the sound produced. Even pianos from the same manufacturer can have different sounds, so it’s important to try out every piano you’re considering before you buy. 

The keys

Ensure all keys create sound and have a smooth surface free of damage. Keys should have resistance – something not all digital pianos have. When you strike a key, there should be sufficient cushioning to reduce the shock to your fingers while you play. 

The brand

Select a reliable brand that will bring you years of enjoyment. A lot of brands have earned good reputations and stand behind the pianos they produce. You can check out our selections here on our site, or stop by and we’ll show you our preferred models. 

The location

 Consider where you’ll place the piano in your home, and how often you’ll play it in your selected location. Pianos should never be placed where there are drastic temperature fluctuations, where they’ll be subjected to heat or moisture, or in direct sunlight. If you want to move your piano on a regular basis, or you have a small location with lots of family members coming and going, a digital piano might be of benefit to be able to plug in headphones to play at any time. 

The warranty

When you buy a piano off Craigslist or from a private owner, what you see is what you get. When you buy a piano from a dealer, you’ll have a warranty that will protect your purchase for the foreseeable future. Ask about our warranties – we’re happy to share with you the easiest way to bring home a piano and start enjoying it today. 

When Is The Best Time Of The Year To Buy A Piano?

When Is The Best Time Of The Year To Buy A Piano?

While playing piano is an activity you can enjoy every day of the year, there are certain times of the year where buying a new piano is better. Piano dealers cycle through seasons and holiday events, just like your favorite big box store. If you consider your time wisely, you’ll know you’re getting the best deal possible on a piano that will give you years of enjoyment. 

When should you consider your purchase?


People don’t often associate summer as a time for being indoors and playing the piano. That’s what makes it the perfect time to invest in a new piano. Piano dealers are often slower, stocking up fall and the start of school. Because business is a little slower, you can work with a dealer to get the best choice for your needs. They’ll spend a little more time evaluating your wishes and desires, and can help you find the best deals. You’ll also be able to have it delivered on your time schedule, prioritizing your delivery around your life. 

End of summer

End of summer means back to school. Piano dealers know that this is one of the biggest times to start extracurricular activities, so you’ll find lots of deals on both new and used pianos. This is also one of the most popular times to get new inventory, which means you’ll find deals on older pianos too. 

November and December

One of the most popular gifts around the holidays is a piano. You’ll find them available at all kinds of stores. But don’t be fooled by buying a toy piano from your favorite big box store. Instead, look for the best deals at your local piano dealer. They know how important a high quality instrument is, so they’re happy to help you find the best deal to suit your family’s needs. 


If you’re looking for a high quality used piano, spring may be a perfect time. A lot of homeowners choose spring as the ideal time to downsize. Our selection goes up in the springtime as we sift through some of the best used pianos in the marketplace. 

Is there a best time to buy a new piano? The best time is when you’re ready to bring a new instrument into your home. If you’ve been dreaming of a new piano, why not make today the day. You’ll love being able to create music any time you desire. We’re happy to help you choose the right piano for your family’s needs. 

Why Is A Piano So Expensive?

Why Is A Piano So Expensive?

Why is a piano so expensive? One look at this complex instrument, and you should know you’re dealing with an ordinary product. 

No matter if you select an upright or a grand piano, there are dozens – hundreds – of parts to make them into the instrument they are. If you open the lid and peer inside, you’ll see they are filled with intricate detail, not something that comes together easily. 

If you slap a piano together quickly on an assembly line, you’d know it at the first touch. The sound wouldn’t be right. Even the feel wouldn’t be as it should. 

Pianos are expensive because …

  • They are made from the very best wood. The wood helps create the sound. And depending on the instrument, the wood has to be moldable to create a one-of-a-kind piano. Have you ever seen a grand piano that lights up the room? Now take a second look at the wood, the way it curves and flows. The way that it glows. 
  • Pianos are not made from a machine. That means every single piano is made by hand. (Just look at the process used to make Steinways.) It takes hours, days, weeks, to make every single part come together and form our modern day pianos. Depending on the size and the brand, a piano will have over 100,000 parts. And when you’re fitting them all into place by hand, ensuring they come together to create a beautiful sound, the price of the final product rises accordingly. 
  • Pianos use a combination of keys, hammers, and strings to create sound. Hundreds of strings are carefully aligned inside the body of the piano, each cut to a precise length. They have to be fitted in the right way, and tuned once they are finalized into place. Not only does this take hours of time, but it also takes skill and knowledge to know what to listen for with every key that is played. 
  • Depending on the piano you select, you’re also buying into the brand. Steinway. Bosendorfer. Chickering. These companies have built up a reputation for having high quality, all of the time. They spend extra time on every piano ensuring it meets certain standards. When you sit down at one of their pianos, you know you’ll make wonderful music, not too bright or mellow, with a full, rich, dynamic range. You have to pay for that. But you’ll also be rewarded with high quality, every time. 
A Guide To The Different Types Of Pianos

A Guide To The Different Types Of Pianos

Pianos come in many different styles, designs, shapes, and sizes. How do you know which one is best for you?

Start right here with our guide to the different types of pianos. It depends on many things, like:

  • Size of your home
  • How often you play
  • Your decor taste
  • How much you choose to invest

Overall, acoustic pianos fall into one of two categories: vertical or horizontal. Verticals are uprights. Horizontals are grands.  

You’ll find verticals or uprights are the most popular category as they fit into many different spaces. It’s also one of the most affordable instruments you can purchase. 

The soundboard is vertical, so the strings and dampers run downward across the board. As a note is played, the hammers strike outward, and take a bit longer to return to resting position. That causes a slight delay. 

But don’t think every grand is superior in performance to an upright; it isn’t true. Both verticals and horizontals can be high quality investments that will provide you with years of enjoyment. 

In each category, you might run across different names. 


Spinet – 33 to 35 inches high, the smallest of the pianos. It’s a popular choice for small spaces, but will have less power and accuracy than other models. 

Console – 40 to 43 inches high, it produces a more enhanced tonal quality, and comes in a variety of styles and finishes. 

Studio – 45 to 48 inches high, you’ll find this in schools and training center. It’s durable and has a high quality sound. 

Full – 48 to 60 inches high, this is the tallest of the uprights. You’ll probably find this in your grandparents’ home, and maintains its sound over time. 


Petite – 4’ 5” to 4’11” is the smallest of the grands. 

Baby – 4’11” to 5’6” is one of the most popular because of its aesthetics, sound, and affordability.

Parlor – 5’7” to 6’4”

Ballroom – 6’5” to 7’5”

Concert – 7’6” and above

The largest of pianos you’ll find in the best music halls around the world. Why? Because they create the best music. 

There are many different types of pianos – how do you know which is best for you? Stop by today and let’s consider your options. We’ll help you find the right piano for your needs. 

How Did The Piano Get Its Shape?

How Did The Piano Get Its Shape?

Have you ever wondered why pianos are shaped the way they are?

What’s more, there are two very distinct piano shapes – vertical (upright) and horizontal (grand). How did they both become so popular and widely accepted when they look nothing alike? 

If you look back at just the last 100 years or so, very little has changed in piano shape. People used either an upright or grand in their home, depending on how much room they had. In concert halls and music school, grands were preferred because of their tonal quality and ability to project out to an audience. 

Even when you head back 300 years, very little has changed in look and feel. Once today’s modern look was achieved, it worked. Though piano manufacturers have tweaked the process nonstop ever since, what you see today with acoustic pianos was very similar to what’s been produced over the past several generations. 

Of course, if you continue your journey back, you’ll find changes become more stark. 

The harpsichord is considered to be the start of modern day pianos. It was invented around 1700, and was a way to control the sound and make it easier to play. It came with two keyboards stacked on top of one another. No matter how hard you pressed down on a key, the sound produced was the same.

Move back hundreds of years before the harpsichord and you’ll find a clavichord, where keys were installed on more traditional harps and organs, making it easier to play notes and ensuring proper tone. 

Before that, string instruments were used to create sounds much like our modern day piano. Monochords used strings and movable bridges to change intonation as a person played. This video shows a monochord in action

Yet eventually, our modern day pianos were created to provide the best experience and make it easy to bring music into your home. Whether you select an upright or grand, it’s the perfect way to enjoy music everyday. 

What’s the best piano choice for your home?

An Easy Way To Find The Serial Number On Any Piano

An Easy Way To Find The Serial Number On Any Piano

Want to find out how much your piano is worth? The best place to start is by finding the serial number on your piano. This number is unique to every piano created. Think of it as the VIN number of the piano world. 

However, finding it is another story. Your piano is large, with thousands of tiny parts inside and out. The serial number is small. In most cases, serial numbers are seven or fewer characters, mostly numbers, but occasionally you’ll find letters too. 

Not every manufacturer puts the serial number in the same place. And depending on the make and the model, even that’s changed over time. 

Grand Piano

With a grand piano, the serial number can be placed in numerous areas. 

  • Some may print the serial number on a plaque on the inside of the rim or case
  • Some may stamp the serial number on the soundboard, top or bottom
  • Some may print and adhere a sticker to the back of the piano
  • Some may print the serial number behind the keyslip in front of the keyboard

Depending on the age and condition of your piano, you may have to give the inside of your piano a thorough cleaning to find the numbers. If restoration has occurred before, the numbers could have been covered up by upgrades. 

Upright Piano

Vertical pianos have less space to print the serial number, so it’s usually easier to find. You can usually find it by lifting the lid; look at the gold harp plate, and it’s usually there. If not, take a look:

  • On the top of the lid
  • On either of the side walls
  • On one of the hammers
  • On the back of the piano, often stamped onto the wood

Why is the serial number so important? Because this is the starting point to find out how much value your instrument has. A serial starts by telling you how old the piano is. When you combine this with the make and model, most dealers will instantly be able to tell you its worth. 

Keep in mind that this is the starting point. Care and maintenance also play a big role in value. But if you’re considering selling your piano, or trading up for a better one, finding your serial number is a great place to start. 

Selecting The Perfect Grand Piano For Your Home

Selecting The Perfect Grand Piano For Your Home

Whether you’ve been playing the piano for a lifetime, or have a strong desire to start something new, nothing can compare to owning a grand piano. Yet selecting the perfect grand piano for your home is a big decision. With so many brands and styles on the market, how do you know which one to choose?

Here at Coltharp Piano World, we’ve helped thousands of customers select the right piano for their needs. Finding the right piano is a personal process, but we’ve found there are a few basic things to consider before honing in on your final decision. 

Select The Right Size

It’s easy to get a little overwhelmed by the options when you come in and view our selection. What looks good on the showroom floor might not be the best choice for your home. Grand pianos come in many different sizes:

Small Grand – up to 5 feet

Baby Grand – 5 to 5 ½ feet

Medium Grand – 5’6” to 5’9”

Parlor or Living Room Grand – 5’10” to 6’1”

Semi-Concert or Ballroom Grand – 6’2” to 7 feet

Concert Grand – anything larger than 7 feet

The best size for your home depends on how much space you have for the final piano. 

Select The Right Color

While sound may be everything when purchasing a piano, looks are also important to ensure it fits the style of your home. Color creates mood and aesthetics, and can be considered as traditional, modern, or eclectic. Want a polished classical ebony piano? Or may new age painted to match your interior? There’s a piano for you. You’ll find different woods, including:

  • Mahogany
  • Rosewood
  • Oak
  • Walnut
  • Cherry
  • Maple

Choose satin or polished finishes. Or create your own. 

Select The Right Tone

The size of the grand piano and the soundboard and string length is what ultimately determines the tonal quality of the instrument. The larger the soundboard, the longer the strings, the greater the volume and tonal quality. If sound quality is your utmost priority, move towards the largest piano size possible for your room dimensions. 

Ultimately, sound is determined by size and craftsmanship, so it’s best to spend ample time researching the right manufacturer for your desires. We can help you determine with sound blends well with your expectations, and ensure you make the right purchase for your home. 

What’s the perfect grand piano for your home? With many different makes and models on the market, it can be a difficult decision. If you’re creating a music room in your home, let us help you finalize your decision. 

What’s The Difference Between Handmade and Mass Produced Pianos?

What’s The Difference Between Handmade and Mass Produced Pianos?

Thanks to the Industrial Revolution, we live in a world where everything can be made faster, easier, cheaper, etc. But speeding processes up isn’t always a good thing. 

In the piano industry, you have two choices when investing in a new instrument: uprights or grands. As a manufacturer, with that choice made, the pieces can easily be manufactured by an automated process, and assembled using mass production processes. 

But there is a difference between these mass produced pianos, and one that is assembled by hand. Yes, there are still companies that do it the old fashioned way. And it can be a big difference in sound. Is it worth the difference in cost?

Let’s start with one of the main differences that has a lasting impact – the piano harp.

The piano harp is a large, cast iron plate that gives a piano its structure. This is the form that holds string tension and must take over 20,000 pounds of tension to create sound. This harp is made from a single cast, which can be made in one of two ways. 

The first is wet sand casting. A template is made and is pressed into sand. Once removed, molten iron is poured into the mold, allowed to cool and cure for several months. This creates strength and alignment, both of which are necessary to ensure quality sound from an instrument. 

The other is vacuum casting. A mold is created of the piano harp intended to use in production. It’s lined with a special membrane, a vacuum sucks the molten iron into the layer, and the product is finished in record time. These harps require no seasoning, need less finishing work, and can be put into assembly line processing in no time. Meaning the number of pianos produced increases exponentially. 

Because of the way they are produced, vacuum piano harps are thinner, and create what some say is a tinier sound. Wet sand casting produces a thicker piano harp, and is refined by hand until it produces the quality the builder is looking for. 

This, of course, creates a more expensive instrument. But knowing every item on the piano was touched, strung, applied, and built in with a one-person, one-product process means your piano will be the best it can be. 

That doesn’t make mass produced pianos bad; instead, it gives you more flexibility with what you’re willing to pay and bring into your home.  

A handmade piano will have more value over the life of the piano. It may give you many more years of play before it requires extensive repair or restoration. It may be easier to maintain over the decades. 

But if your goal is to bring the love of music into your home today, with the thought of upgrading as you or your child progresses with your desire for playing, a mass produced piano may be your perfect choice. 

What piano is best for you? Stop by today and we’ll help you select the perfect piano for your home. 

Do Pianos Hold Their Value?

Do Pianos Hold Their Value?

Purchasing a new piano can be a daunting task. It’s not as easy as running to the sporting goods store and picking up a soccer ball. You can’t store it as easily as a new pair of sneakers. 

Purchasing a new piano is an investment in your future. Selected correctly, you can expect your piano to give you a lifetime of enjoyment. And whether you’re ready to move up in quality, or simply downsize and give the next generation an opportunity to play, pianos can be an investment that pays you back when you’re ready to sell. 

But how do you know which pianos hold their value? Is it based on style? Make? Brand? 

Every piano is different. It depends on all of that and more. Yet there are a few general principles that determine how much value a piano will hold over time. 

First of all, realize that pianos depreciate just like every major asset you own. As soon as you bring them home from the dealer, they start the depreciation process, sometimes losing as much as 20 percent in the first year alone. Then they continue to move downward depending on a variety of factors:

  • How well they are maintained
  • How much humidity impacts the parts
  • Replacement parts
  • Tuning, voicing, and other care

But not all pianos depreciate at the same rate. Mass-produced pianos are going to go down in value more than ones that are lovingly created one at a time. If you choose the best names in the business – Steinway, Bosendorfer, or Yamaha – they can actually go up in value over time. 

Why? Because of the quality. They’re that good. 

If you select a limited edition instrument, they also tend to hold their value and be more valuable in the resale market. These instruments have unique finishes or special components that make them wanted on the open market. 

Do pianos hold their value? The best answer is: it depends. If you want a high quality piano you can play for a lifetime, we can help you with that. If you care about long term value, we can help you with that too. Stop by today and consider your options from our complete stock of high quality instruments. You’ll find one you can love for a lifetime.